What would the Boss do? And by the boss I’m referring to Bruce Springsteen. Well, he would probably go to Asbury Park this weekend to see Shepard’s show. After all that’s where the Boss got his start. Our friend the notorious Lobo Jones will be shooting the show this weekend and was nice us to compile some of his photos and give us a little background of the legendary Asbury Park. As a former resident of the Garden State I’m really loving his photos. Make sure to check out his shop on ETSY too.
With the OBEY Revolutions exhibit heading to Johnathan Levine Gallery as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in Asbury Park this week, we thought we’d take a closer look at the New Jersey shore town that has revolved around music and art from it’s inception.
Founded as a religious retreat, Asbury Park first served as a getaway to wealthy Manhattanites seeking respite from the bustling Big Apple. Early grand Victorian hotels commonly hosted formal ballroom dances while along the boardwalk sand artists carved elaborate sculptures from the beachfront. It was a favorite stop along the big band and ragtime jazz tour circuit in the 20’s & 30’s. By the 1960’s the boardwalk’s Convention Hall was headlining The Rolling Stones and The Who.
Today Asbury Park is in the midst of a revival, and once again it is in large part due to music and art. Asbury Lanes is still showcasing everything from punk & rockabilly to burlesque & hot rod shows. The Parlor Gallery in the Cookman Avenue shopping district features local art and photography while Asbury’s own independent movie theater, The Showroom, screens festival winning films. Along the boardwalk, Hot Sand teaches glassblowing, the old Grand Casino Carousel House has live “theater in the round” while the photographs lining the walls of the Asbury Galleria serve as an unofficial historical society. Once again Asbury Park is becoming a destination for all things creative.
Bruce Springsteen’s debut album “Greetings From Asbury Park” brought the New Jersey shore town worldwide exposure in the 1970’s. And during the height of his Born In The USA fame, it wasn’t uncommon for The Boss to jump in on a local band’s performance at The Stone Pony. But by the end of the decade nationwide economic downturn brought hard times to Asbury. The once vibrant boardwalk was a ghost town of shuttered storefronts and failed construction projects. Graffiti artists however saw the vacant town as a blank canvas and practiced their art throughout. The Bouncing Souls adopted it as their home in the early 90’s and together with Asbury Lanes & Van’s Warped Tour helped to keep Asbury’s music scene alive in it’s toughest years.
These photos, taken between 2005 and 2008, capture a time just before Asbury Park began to bounce back. Some of these things have changed, some remain and some are gone. But after all these years I’m still coming back to Asbury Park – for the people, for the art, for the music.
REVOLUTIONS: The Album Cover Art of Shepard Fairey
Presented by Jonathan LeVine Gallery
September 29th, 2011, 6-9pm
9/30 – 10/3/11
1200 Ocean Ave
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
For more information please contact Jonathan LeVine Gallery